In the third sermon on the theme of “What is church for?”, Melissa talked about God’s countercultural vision of hierarchy demonstrated by Paul’s body metaphor in 1 Corinthians 12: 14-31. Since antiquity, the institutions of government and the economy have a distinct continuity: they have created social, political, and economic hierarchies that we have often […]
In the second sermon on the theme of “What is church for?”, Melissa talked about stewardship, speaking from Acts 2:38-47. She shared the story of the Diggers. Every once in a while Christians begin to live so near to the life of Jesus, so deeply in tune with the Spirit of God at such a […]
John 2:1-12 This Sunday Melissa begins a three-part series on the question: What is the Church For? The miracle at the wedding of Cana seems like a superfluous act on the part of Jesus. There’s nothing practical or useful about the sign. Jesus doesn’t cure disease, raise a person from the dead or feed hungry […]
Melissa kicked off a summer series focusing on creation care. Over the course of the summer we will hear the story of creation from Genesis from nine different preachers. She started us off, combining it with the passage from Colossians 1:15-20. Another aspect of the series this summer is captured in this web page, suggesting […]
Scripture: John 20:19-23; Acts 2:1-21 On this Pentecost Sunday we also celebrated the birthday of Raleigh Mennonite and the annual renewal of our covenant together. We take time to remember that we’ve said “yes” to showing up for one another. There’s no rule book for how to do this. The only tools we’re given to […]
This was a unique Sunday when Raleigh Mennonite joined St. Ambrose Episcopal for a joint worship service in St. Ambrose’s sanctuary. Father Jemonde Taylor and Pastor Melissa Florer-Bixler brought a dialogical sermon from the gospel reading in John 14:15-21. During Lent the choirs from both churches joined together to learn about and sing songs from […]
Melissa preached from Luke 24:13-35 on this third Sunday of Easter. Bread weaves a thread through the pages of scripture. Bread is a character in our salvation story. Even though they had talked at length with this stranger, it wasn’t until the two traveling on the road to Emmaus sat and broke bread with Jesus […]
On this Easter morning Melissa preached from John 20:1-18. Early on the first morning, while it was still dark, there was sweat and adrenaline and weeping. It has been three days since the crucifixion. Three days since they took his body down from the cross, and sealed it inside a cave with a massive boulder. […]
Melissa spoke from Matthew 21:1-11 on this Palm Sunday. She shared the story of one of her favorite parties she has been a part of, when women were released from jail after their bond was paid by members of SONG. “When I see the women with radiant faces celebrating their freedom, I am there with […]
On this fifth Sunday of Lent Melissa preached from Romans 8:6-11. Our bodies are not neutral. We are formed by environments, constrained or freed, or subjected to housing laws and legal decisions, physical borders, corporations. Our bodies, our racialized bodies, our aging bodies, our gendered bodies, these are formed by forces much larger than our […]
On this fourth Sunday of Lent Melissa preached from John 9:1-41 and Romans 5:1-11. The story of Jesus healing the man who was born blind, and the subsequent questioning by the Pharisees illustrates the difference between being cured and being healed. After he gains his sight, he is repeatedly questioned by the people in power […]
On this third Sunday of Lent, Melissa spoke from Romans 5:1-11. Most of our sins aren’t interesting or dangerous. They’re mostly petty and boring and cruel. We short change both the chasm of our failings and the grace of God when we limit the scope of our sins to doing bad things. Our sins are […]
On this second Sunday of Lent Melissa preached from Romans 4:1-5, 13-17, weaving in basketball with the ongoing theme of confession, along with talking about community and identity. What if our identity isn’t a story about heroics or world-changing? What if the only way to tell each other apart is that we forgive each other?
On this first Sunday of Lent, Melissa preached from Genesis 2:15-17 & 3:1-7 and Romans 5:12-19. During this season we are focusing our time and attention toward “confession.” We have varied experiences with confessions. Confession is when we come clean, when we tell the truth about who we are. We are not God!
Scripture: Matthew 5:21-37 Today we’re listening to Jesus challenge our misconceptions about what this Jesus-centered life is that we have chosen to live. If you’re here because you’re trying to find a behavior modification program to make you more moral, this is not the right place. Jesus is actually interested in the heart of the […]
Scripture: Matthew 5:11-20 Melissa asked the congregation to help shape the sermon and interpret scripture together in this message about the oft-heard passage of the church being the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
Scripture: John 1:29-42 Melissa shares about Jesus’ baptism and anointing by the Holy Spirit through three different encounters: two icon images and a video. The Holy Spirit is frequently an under-considered member of the trinity, an afterthought. Feel free to participate in this visio divina by studying the icons as you listen to the sermon […]
Matthew 2:13-23 Scripture doesn’t tell us a lot about Jesus’ early life, when God became a human baby. The story at the beginning of his life will form the whole rest of the story. It turns out that what it means to be God is actually what it means to be perfectly human, to love […]
Scripture: Isaiah 7: 10-16, Matthew 1: 18-25 Melissa preached from home since she had a child with COVID. We continue to hear from the prophecies in Isaiah on this fourth Sunday of Advent. God rolls God’s eyes at Ahaz because of Ahaz’s reluctance to listen to God. And God sends a token that Ahaz doesn’t […]
Scriptures: Isaiah 35:1-10 and Matthew 11:2-11 How does one tie in excitement about the World Cup with the third Sunday of Advent? Leave it to Melissa!
Scripture: Isaiah 2:1-5 Melissa began her sermon on this first Sunday of Advent by sharing a rendition of Down by the Riverside by Rosetta Tharpe. In the Isaiah passage, God paints a picture for Isaiah of a world where tools of war become obsolete. That is a pretty bold vision for people locked into a […]
Scripture: Luke 23: 33-43 On this Sunday celebrating the reign of Jesus, Melissa shared the image of some graffiti archaeologists uncovered depicting a man with his arm raised toward a man with a donkey’s head nailed to a cross. Under it bears the inscription “Alexamenos adores his god.” There are frequently two depictions of Jesus. […]
Melissa reflects on and gives voice to the hypothetical woman who was married to seven brothers from the story in Luke 20:27-38. The Sadducees pose this question about the resurrection, but all along what Jesus wanted to tell the Sadducees, wanted to tell us, is that all women, all people, need good news. We need […]
Scripture: Ephesians 1:11-23 On this All Saints Day Melissa provided the message, explaining that saints are people who have lived in a way that help us believe that God is real. They are not necessarily the ones who are the best at believing stuff. Saints carry faith for one another and make make God credible […]